CARE leavers in the borough will receive help with their health expenses as part of a wider support package.

Wigan Council announced a plan last week to provide free prescriptions to care leavers up to the age of 25 through their role as corporate parents.

The move follows on from the local authority increasing the age care leavers are exempt from paying council tax to 25 earlier this year.

Cllr Jenny Bullen, portfolio holder for children and young people at the council, said the support now available for more than 140 care leavers in the borough is aimed to help them "achieve their dreams and aspirations" .

She told colleagues at a full council meeting: “I am proud that this council takes its responsibilities as corporate parents incredibly seriously.

“This is in recognition that care leavers don’t have the support from family that you or I may have been fortunate to benefit from as we entered adult hood.

“But I want them to know they can get that support from us.”

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In addition to council tax exemption, care leavers also benefit from free membership of all borough gyms run by Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles and have access to the authority’s pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programme.

The proposed free prescription plan is the result of a closer partnership between the council and borough health organisations like Wigan borough's clinical commissioning group (CCG).

Cllr Bullen added: “This is a great example of the influence we now have over joint council and health spending.

“Through The Deal we have been able to make promises to our care leavers about the support we will offer to them.

“Like any good parent it is our responsibility to ensure that those leaving our care are supported to have the best chance to thrive independently as young adults and achieve their dreams and aspirations.”